Cruises to Wellington

328 Reviews
Wellington (Photo:Victor Maschek/Shutterstock)

About Cruising to Wellington

You can't beat Wellington on a good day, so the saying goes. But New Zealand's cosmopolitan capital city, located at the southern tip of the North Island, rolls out the 'fun carpet' even when that legendary wind is blowing. Located in the centre of New Zealand, all roads lead to Wellington -- as do all ferries cruising over from the South Island just three hours sailing away across Cook Strait.

According to Maori legend, the two main islands of New Zealand are actually the great canoe of Maui (the South Island) and the giant fish he caught (the North Island). Wellington Harbour is the mouth of that huge fish. So where did the city's name come from? From Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington and British Prime Minster from 1828 to 1830.

Though a geographic hub, Wellington is surprisingly compact -- it's nestled between the harbour and steep, forest-clad hills -- and wonderfully walkable. The revamped waterfront area leads from the cruise dock at the eastern edge of town to the must-see Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in the west. A stroll along the quay is filled with surprises. There's a grassy playground for kids, large-scale sculptures and fun wooden walkways. Cross the street, and you'll have your choice of cafes and shops.

Foodies will love Wellington for its wide range of dining options. There are close to 800 restaurants and counting -- per capita that's more than New York City. Another thing Wellingtonians are obsessed about is coffee. Kiwis, as New Zealanders are known, along with their Australian neighbours, have their own lingo for styles of coffee -- flat white (coffee with milk), short black (espresso) -- though cappuccinos remain constant and servings won't be supersized.

  • More about Wellington

  • Why Cruise to Wellington?

  • Wellington Cruise Port Facilities?

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Silver Nova
A rendering of Silversea's Silver Nova (Illustration: Silversea)

32 Night
World Cruise

21 Reviews
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Crown Princess
Crown Princess (Photo: Princess Cruises)

31 Night
Transpacific Cruise

2,245 Reviews
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Seabourn Sojourn
Seabourn Sojourn

129 Night
129-day Ring Of Fire: Hidden Gems

158 Reviews
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Cruise Critic Favorite
Viking Orion
Viking Orion (Photo: Cruise Critic)

14 Night
Australia & New Zealand

608 Reviews
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MSC Cruises

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Australia & New Zealand

1,121 Reviews
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17 Night
New Zealand Discovery & Australia

168 Reviews
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11 Night
New Zealand Cruise

763 Reviews
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46 Night
Hawaii, South Pacific, New Zealand & Australia

168 Reviews
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14 Night
New Zealand Cruise

2,245 Reviews
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Australia & New Zealand

238 Reviews
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New Zealand Holiday

748 Reviews
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14 Night
New Zealand Cruise

2,245 Reviews
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162 Night
162 Night Viking World Voyage Ii

1,211 Reviews
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14 Night
Australia & New Zealand

1,121 Reviews
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19 Night
New Zealand Cruise

925 Reviews
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More about Wellington

Why Cruise to Wellington?

Pros:

Lots to do, vibrant port area, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Cons:

The weather is haphazard and it's a different town when it's windy and raining

Bottom Line:

The nation's capital has lots to explore and you need Plan A and Plan B depending on the forecast

Wellington Cruise Port Facilities?

The big ships dock at Aotea Quay, an industrial area, where disembarking passengers are met by coaches to transport them into the city -- a short, five-minute journey. Small ships dock at Queens Wharf, just a few steps from Wellington Museum (formerly the Museum of City and Sea) and a couple of blocks from all the downtown shops and restaurants.

Good to Know?

New Zealand's capital Wellington is the home to many of the country's cultural institutions, which are well worth seeking out. From the Royal New Zealand Ballet and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra to the National Library of New Zealand and, of course, New Zealand Parliament's Executive Wing, universally known as The Beehive (that it resembles) you can select an interest and pursue it here.

Getting Around?

Wellington is relatively small. You can walk to most of the major sights in town.

By Taxi: Wellington Combined Taxis accept debit and credit cards. You can also call them on 04 384 4444 (within NZ). Uber and Ola operate in Wellington, too.

By Bus: Metlink is Greater Wellington's Public Transport for buses, trains and ferries. Go to the railway station for buses traveling beyond the city centre and harbour area. If you are going to be travelling quite a lot on public transport, it may be worthwhile buying a Snapper card for $10 as the fares can be almost half that for cash.

By Rental Car: For out-of-town exploration, rental cars are available from the usual outlets -- Avis, Budget, Hertz and more. For more information, visit the Wellington i-SITE Visitor Information Centre at 111 Wakefield St.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The New Zealand dollar is about 1.50 to the US dollar, which is good news for cruisers. The easiest way to get local currency is from an ATM, found throughout the city and attached to just about every bank. Shoppers using debit cards can ask for 'cash out' the Antipodean term for money back.

Language?

English is the national language though there is a vowel-shift going on, so that 'ham' becomes 'hem' and 'best' sounds more like 'bist'. Australians have been known to unkindly say that the Land of the Long White Cloud would be better named the Land of the Long Flat Vowel.

New Zealanders are extremely proud of the nation's Maori heritage so you will hear Maori words being used in everyday speech. A few handy, commonly used Maori phrases are kia ora for 'hello' and ka kite ano for 'see you again'.


Wellington Cruise Reviews
Lots of things to see and do here. Wellington is a good sized town. We chose a shore excursion titled In the Footsteps of LOTR, which took us to the WETA Workshop and explored film sites around the city as WellingtonRead More
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Quicksilvermorn
Wellington proper was nothing special, flat & not dissimilar to any other city. The highlights were the Gallipoli exhibition at the National Museum & the Weta Workshop/Cave tour, also took a LOTR filming sites tour wRead More
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Wombat203
We did the free Viking tour, Highlights of Wellington and Te Papa Museum. The bus tour was fairly short and there really wasn't much to see from the bus, so we were happy to get quite a bit of time in the museum, whiRead More
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CanuckCruiser604
Very nice day on our own. The tourist map was excellent and Wellington was very walkable. We had planned to ride the cable car up, but when the shuttle bus stop was changed, we just watched it come up. (In retrospectRead More
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amtatom

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